From 1845-2015, the RAU Library has changed just as much as the rest of the University – if not more.
The official 1909 RAC inventory below lists the library as having an “inkstand and bottle … 1,700 volumes of books” – today it has “46 computers … 46,000 books/journal issues/dissertations/DVDs, etc”. Come and see how it has got there.
Read also a message from Peter Brooks, Head of Library Services about the development of the library and the growth of e-resources.
“It’s easy to take the availability of e-resources for granted in the 21st century. We now expect academic libraries to facilitate full-text e-journal and e-book access across a wide range of titles and disciplines – and the RAU is no exception. Yet it was not always like this.
“When I started working as an Assistant Librarian at the RAU in 1997, we had no full-text e-books or e-journals. In fact, our e-resources were pretty much limited to a version of CAB Abstracts on CD-ROM – that only worked on one single standalone PC in the library! Later, we networked this resource via a very primitive method that we would probably laugh at now.
“Our first real foray into full-text e-journal collections was to take out a subscription to JSTOR in 2003. A subscription to ScienceDirect took another three years, and we announced it with great pride in September 2006. It would be another two years before we were able to offer students access to e-books via our first ever subscription to an e-books package called ebrary Academic Complete. A further big leap forward occurred in 2012, when we moved to a system that greatly simplified e-access for staff and students who were not on campus. Meanwhile, we were also busy increasing our e-journal offering by adding e-versions of most of our print academic journal titles, and adding the links to our library catalogue.
“Since then, the e-resource availability at the RAU has increased exponentially, such that we now offer in excess of 4,000 e-journal titles and 100,000 e-books. Our most recent new subscriptions have been to e-journal packages from both Taylor & Francis and Wiley. These have been welcomed by the RAU academic community with comments such as ‘stunning’, ‘most impressive’, and ‘brilliant news’. Even better, the majority of our e-resources can be searched from one place – Find it @ RAU. We couldn’t have dreamt of this in 1997!
“So while it’s easy to get nostalgic sometimes about the ‘old school’ way of doing things – and librarianship was easier back then in some ways – staff and students at the RAU have never had it so good as far as library-related resources are concerned. Enjoy!”